Ah, protein. What to feel full with less? Get enough, but not too much! When you have the right amount of protein, you will feel full and energized, ready to tackle your day. Studies have shown that protein helps you feel more satisfied over its cousins, carbs and fats, though all three are necessary for a balanced diet.
That said, protein can be a wee bit over-rated in terms of requirements. Eating too much of this important nutrient (as with any excess calories) will lead fat storage on your lovely hips, waist and beyond. Even more, the higher fat and lower fiber intake associated with a high-protein diet can also lead to problems like heart disease and certain cancers. Ugh, no thanks!
How much of the good stuff do you need? The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for adults depends on your activity level: Sedentary: .4g/lb of body weight per day; Strength athlete: .5-.8g/lb; Endurance athlete: .5-.6g/lb. Get out your calculator! It may be less than you thought.
What should you be eating? I subscribe to a plant-based philosophy, so for me it’s vegan all the way baby. I am proud to have lots of lean muscle and low body fat. However, I admit, this lifestyle is not for everyone! The key to finding balance? Take a look at cultures throughout the world- most use meat and dairy to season their vegetable, legume and whole grain-laden plates. If you choose to eat animal-based protein, also add in a ton of plant stuff, your body will thank you.
My faves? Lentils, beans, soy and almond milk, tofu, nuts and nut butters. How does this translate into meals/snacks? Hummus with whole grain crackers, fruit smoothies with soymilk and almond butter, Spanish rice and beans, trail mix with nuts and dried fruit, lentil stew, scrambled tofu with veggies. Tell me your not salivating right now. I thought so.
Love your body by giving it just what it needs, nothing more, nothing less. Choose well and enjoy how you feel. Eat, and be full my friends. What are your favorite ways to get protein morning/noon/night?
P.S. For U.S. government recommendations, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/protein.html